Georges St-Pierre the most popular Canadian athlete? Maybe not so much.
Canada Sports Net’s Perry Lefko recently penned a column on 2011’s most over-hyped athletes and, in addition to questioning UFC president Dana White’s assertion that GSP is the most globally-known Canadian athlete, he also pegged the UFC welterweight champion as an overblown sensation.
Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White said in December 2011 that St-Pierre is still the most popular athlete in Canada in terms of his international recognition — we’re not so sure about that — but the welterweight champion is sidelined indefinitely with damaged knee ligaments. And even before his injury, St-Pierre was taking verbal shots from the public, the media and fighters for his inability to put away opponents.
He grabbed the international spotlight in April for headlining the first UFC card in Toronto, producing GSP mania. A record UFC crowd of more than 55,000 packed the Rogers Centre to finally see the conquering Canadian hero and he went the full five rounds with Jake Shields in what was more of a clinic on how not to lose a fight than actually win it.
Yes, GSP had problems seeing out of one eye because of a shot in the fight, but we’ve seen fighters with far bigger issues turn it up a notch. It was boring at best and continued a pattern of St-Pierre going the full distance without delivering the knockout blow or submission. Heck, the fight before it on the card was way more entertaining than the main event.
Lefko points to what many have said over recent years, that, as dominant, athletic and skillful as he is, GSP just isn’t delivering the goods. Once known as a potent finisher, St-Pierre has been more content recently to exploit whatever edge he has over an opponent while making sure not to open himself up in any way to suffer from his opponent’s offense. While this approach has made him one of the most dominant and victorious fighters in the game, it has also cost him some fans and earned him some criticism.
It certainly doesn’t help St-Pierre’s case that the only fight people remember him in from this year was a ho-hum decision over an outmatched Jake Shields. However, he’s expected to take on the winner of the impending Carlos Condit vs. Nick Diaz bout whenever he returns from his knee injury and it’s hard to picture fights against either of those men being boring, no matter GSP’s strategy.